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Letter to the Editor

Sen. Jim Demint encourages domestic drilling of oil

By Sen. Jim Demint
web posted July 2, 2008

Dear Editor,

2008 is a year of records: Gas prices continue to reach record highs while congressional approval ratings continue to hit record lows. I'm afraid these two numbers have a lot to do with one another.
Gas prices are now over $4 a gallon and are putting real strains on American families.  And while these families are hurting, Congress continues to throw more salt in the wound.  Many congressmen continue to vote against domestic oil exploration while at the same time decrying America’s dependence on foreign oil.
Right here at home, we have an abundance of resources that would increase the amount of energy available to Americans, lower gas prices and keep American dollars here instead of flowing overseas to the Middle East and south to anti-American dictators.
First, reports indicate that there are more than 86 billion barrels of oil and 420 trillion cubic feet of natural gas in the Outer Continental Shelf.  Unfortunately, Congress put this area off-limits in the early 1980s, and efforts to open it up have been fought at every turn.
Some say we shouldn't be allowed to explore for natural gas and oil off our coast, but I disagree and I always have. I believe each state should be allowed to make this decision.
Under the right circumstances, we could safely access energy that would help lower gas prices. Also, the royalties each state receives from these leases could be used to improve the condition of our beaches and coastal wetlands, creating a real win-win opportunity.
Second, it is estimated that the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge holds more than 10 billion barrels of oil. That is about the same as the amount of crude oil we import from Saudi Arabia over 20 years. The resources from this region would be helping us today were it not for President Clinton vetoing legislation in 1995 allowing exploration.
Finally, the Green River Basin that runs through Utah, Colorado and Wyoming is rich in oil shale. It is estimated that more than 800 billion barrels of oil is recoverable in this region ‹ the equivalent of 100 years worth of oil imports.
If America can utilize the resources in our own backyard while also encouraging cheaper alternative sources of energy such as nuclear power, we can begin to work toward a more sustainable energy policy. Indeed, energy security is within our grasp if Congress will back off its opposition to any and all efforts to develop these American resources.
But while Congress is burying its head in the sand on domestic energy exploration, it is busy trying to make the problem worse with a new climate tax bill that will drive the price of energy even higher. According to multiple studies, the so-called “cap and trade” bill would increase gas prices at the pump by as much as $2 and would cost the average American household more than $8,000 in the next 10 years. Europe tried this idea, and now gas costs almost $9 a gallon there.  Between the high price of gas and the additional punitive measures Congress wants to implement, it is no wonder this Congress suffers dismal approval ratings.
Recently the President called on the Democrat Majority in Congress to work on behalf of the American people. He asked Congress to vote to end its long-standing ban on deep-sea oil and gas exploration. He also challenged Congress to act on energy measures that allow exploration in Alaska and the Green River Basin.
Rhetoric in Washington about affordable energy prices and weaning America off foreign oil is cheap. Unfortunately for Americans, gas is not. It is time for Congress to allow Americans to use their own energy resources so we can all pay less.
There are two action points I would like you to consider –
#1 - If you have not yet, please visit Newt Gingrich’s American Solutions website and sign the petition demanding that Congress Drill Now to solve our energy crisis.  Click here for link.
#2 – Visit my campaign website at JimDemint.com and sign up to receive our online email updates.  Joining our team will keep you better informed of a whole host of conservative issues that are working their way through the US Congress.  We will also update you on the progress of some “not so” conservative issues as well…
Thanks for reading this and for all that you do to make America great! 
Jim DeMint

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